McGrath Highway could have protected bike lanes

Feedback deadline: Monday 3/8

MassDOT last week announced plans for improving McGrath Highway that would involve removing one traffic lane in each direction while adding buffered (not protected) bike lanes. 

It’s an exciting proposal overall that will make McGrath safer ahead of longer term plans for a massive road reconstruction. However, there is still room for improvement — and your feedback can turn this good plan into an excellent one.

Here’s what you can do: Take MassDOT’s survey about the McGrath plans. It’s super easy, and can be done in just a couple minutes. Share positive feedback (it goes a long way!) as well as areas for improvement.

The survey closes next Monday, 3/8. Get your feedback in today!

MassDOT rendering of the proposed plans, which would reduce traffic lanes from six to four

Improvements we’d like to see:

  • Protected bike lanes — Physical barriers are necessary to make bike lanes truly safe and welcoming to people of all ages and abilities. A spate of recent crashes on Mass Ave. in Boston near the Boston Medical Center — in which drivers repeatedly ran into cement barriers protecting a bike lane — shows that paint alone is insufficient, especially on multilane roads with fast traffic like McGrath. The proposed painted buffer is about two feet wide, meaning there is plenty of room to add physical separation with a vertical element.

    Protected bike lanes here would also form a safe connection to the PBLs we hope to see on Highland Ave, working to build out a connected city and regional network of safe bike infrastructure. (The Somerville City Council recently voted unanimously in favor of PBLs on Highland.)

  • Extended bike lanes to Mystic Ave. — The proposed bike lanes would end at Broadway at the northern end. We’d love to see them continue all the way to Mystic. (MassDOT is considering buffered bike lanes in a separate plan for the Mystic/McGrath intersection; you can use this opportunity to endorse protected bike lanes the entire length of both projects.)

  • Automated pedestrian signals — Removing “beg buttons” would make crossing these intersections as convenient as possible for people walking.

You can review MassDOT’s full plan for McGrath Highway here.